"My experience has been that I haven’t seen a true free trader on this real earth yet. Everybody somewhere has some degree of protection or limitation in one sector or another."
Hong Kong and Macau offer duty-free models, but their economies are smaller and less complex than Britain's. And even if goods trade was totally liberalized, it might still be useful to have a written agreement on liberalizing trade in services, rather than a blank sheet, Azevedo said.
"The moment you want to write a limitation here or there, technically any member of the WTO may say 'I disagree with the limitation that you’re introducing'," he said.
He insisted that he wasn't telling Britain how to vote in this month's referendum or passing judgment on the policy options.
"All that I am saying is that unless you go for some kind of radical, almost theoretical, argument that no negotiations are needed, any other scenario would require some negotiation with all WTO members."
Monday, 6 June 2016
Reuters: World trade chief says post-Brexit 'WTO option' may be unfeasible for UK